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Subject: Re: [ubl-lcsc] Rate and Ratio

I agree with Tony.

There are too many business specific meanings for each of those words, and
to try to substitute one for the other is simply inviting disaster.

A ratio means nothing without context, as Tony says 1:4 means nothing to
anyone, but if you qualify it with gear ratio, it makes sense.

A rates are typically percents, but that is not totally true in all cases
either.  In the US tax rates may be expressed as mils or as percents, so
again we are at context determining which term to use.

I will always think of speed as "measurement".  Measurement always needs a
unit of measure.  The number 4 means nothing without a unit of meausrement
associated with it.  4 km/hr means something.

This would open a hole that will never close....let's leave ratio as ratio
and rate as rate.


Alan Stitzer
Marsh USA Inc.
1133 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036-2774
Phone: (561) 743-1938
Fax: (561) 743-1993
Internet: Alan.Stitzer@marsh.com

<<< Memo from abcoates@londonmarketsystems.com@Internet on 07 August, 2003,
05:17:25 PM Thursday >>>

abcoates@londonmarketsystems.com@Internet on 7 Aug 2003, 17:17 Thursday

Please respond to abcoates@londonmarketsystems.com@Internet

To:    marion royal; ubl-lcsc
cc:      (bcc: Alan Stitzer)
Subject:    Re: [ubl-lcsc] Rate and Ratio

** Reply to message from marion.royal@gsa.gov on Thu, 7 Aug 2003 16:57:13

> An alternative of "ratio" was offered, but I'm not sure this was
> The problem may be that we habitually use incorrect terms, especially
> within our domains.  I looked around a bit and noticed that in
> rate is used to compare two unlike units of measurement as in "kilometers
> per hour" and ratio is used for comparison of numbers of the same units
> measure (gear ratio is 1:4).  The units of a ratio are typically not
> expressed.

Ratios never have units, they are pure numbers.

> A currency exchange is a comparison of two different units, so currency
> exchange rate would be accurate.
> A percentage seems to me to be a ratio.  A tax of 10 percent would equate
> to a ratio of 1 to 10 dollars.  Likewise with discounts.
> Does this make sense to you?  Does it have a dramatic impact on business
> vocabularies?

To my mind, there is no way UBL could hope to promote the idea of a "tax
for what the world calls a "tax rate".  A tax rate is indeed the ratio of
tax you pay to your gross earnings, but this is simply too subtle.  Rate is
just a very general concept, and I would suggest that all you can do is
it appropriately for each context.

Anthony B. Coates
London Market Systems Limited
33 Throgmorton Street, London, EC2N 2BR
Mobile/Cell: +44 (79) 0543 9026
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To:    marion.royal@gsa.gov@Internet,
cc:     (bcc: CN=Alan Stitzer/OU=NYC-NY/OU=US/OU=Marsh/O=MMC)
From:  abcoates@londonmarketsystems.com@Internet

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